The Healing Imprint by Laura Deschl explores the therapeutic potentials of knitted acupressure garments and an embodied practice for emotional healing from psycho-trauma.
A bodysuit, gloves, socks and a pillow become tools to stimulate acupoints on the body, hands, feet and head. The knitted textiles have been produced with a grid through which small massage balls can be moved to specific acupressure points on the body.
Industrial knit does not only allow for custom-design the textiles but also provides them with compressing qualities.
Acupressure is a non-invasive and safe method originating in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Its benefit is to bring up buried emotions and memories. Specific combinations of acupressure points can be stimulated simultaneously to address specific trauma-based symptoms such as PTSD, anxiety or depression.
“My background as a certified yoga teacher allowed me to develop an embodied movement practice based on yoga that uses body weight to heighten the pressure of specific acupoints”
Laura Deschl, The Healing Imprint
Based on historical, academic and psychological research and interviews, the presented methodology has been designed as another resource for Western mental health practices that can foster a connection to one’s body and one’s emotions: two elements that are crucial for one’s sense of self but are often highly impaired as a result of trauma.
Many people with histories of trauma and neglect experience an extreme disconnection from their bodies due to a deep divide between the sense of self and sensory experiences. What professionals call alexithymia describes the patients‘ inability to put into words what they feel and what is going on inside their bodies.
The goal of this project is to help patients train embodiment and thus bringing them closer to their bodies. Trauma-sensitive yoga lays the ground for introspection, and acupressure helps to access buried emotions and memories. The practice allows us to pause and reflect on what can or cannot be felt.
The garment is not only an interface for an individual to access embodied knowledge and self, but also represents how design can converge fields such as science, business, medicine, psychiatry and textile-making in an ongoing process of knowledge creation.
With an aesthetic embracing fashion and wellbeing, the Healing Imprint seeks to destigmatize the realm of mental health and make visible what is invisible to us: the traces trauma has left on the body.
For those …
whose body is not their home.
who simultaneously remember too little and too much.
with a fragmented self.
Laura Deschl, The Healing Imprint
More about the Designer
Laura Deschl is a Social Designer and Artistic Researcher with a background in Fashion & Textiles. She holds a Master of Fine Arts and Design from Design Academy Eindhoven.
Through her interdisciplinary approach, she creates a discourse between fields that usually have little overlap. Her research-driven work often finds an object- or material-based translation accompanied by academic writing.
Her current research focuses on the field of therapeutic textiles. She is passionate about dissecting complex social issues, for example, the entanglements around the field of psychiatry and healing by questioning systems and narrations in regards to mental health.
Most of her work explores the relationship between subject and object – stemming from her curiosity in affect psychology and in the question, of how objects can initiate, regulate and influence human emotions.
The Healing imprint: In collaboration with ROICA by Asahi Kasei, Zimmermann, KnitwearLab, TextielLab Tilburg and Suedwolle.
Supported by Knitting Holland Fund CE3 Interreg Deutschland-Nederland.
Photography: Iris Rijskamp